Haunted is a painting by Paul Lovering which was uploaded on August 3rd, 2013 and will not be published for profit.
These days when I write anything thoughtful, either a poem or a quote or just a casual collection of verses because I feel strongly for a cause; no matter what time of the night or day it is, there is a message awaiting me on chat or a text message or a short email within minutes of posting. Most times they read, “Are you okay? Don’t worry you will have kids soon” or “What happened now and why can’t you write happy matters” or “Get some help” or “Why are you harping on the same thing for so many years – move on!” and so on and so forth. What these wise people don’t understand is that creativity is a sublimation of everything that is wrong with humankind. If I did not write, I’d probably be all those well-wishers wished I’d not be (or unerringly that because they covertly hope).
23rd April, 2013 is one of those days that I cannot stop dwelling and hence cannot stop writing about; not now, not ever. My mom, was literally bed-ridden. I say literally because she was pushing herself based on her will power. The doctors in India had started diagnosing her for Osteoporosis, Arthritis and everything that was old-age related until she started tumbling 6 to 7 times a day and sometimes hurting herself really bad. So, we were very careful about her daily routine. At that time, we were in a townhouse with steep stairs and had to make arrangements such that she could stay on the same floor without going up and down in our absence. Later that year, once she returned to India, we were told that she was suffering from Transverse Myelitis, a disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord characterized by symptoms and signs of neurologic dysfunction in motor and sensory tracts on both sides of the spinal cord. I do not know much but if not treated, it would have led to Multiple Sclerosis.
That day I came home early from work which was unusual and she was lying on the day-bed talking to someone over the phone, tears rolling down her eyes, voice cracking and it was not a pleasant sight. I am not sure if I display enough obsession about my mother in my writings but that day I was agitated about the person on the phone that would do this to her. Even before I could swing into action to take the phone off her hand, she hung up. Afterwards, chronicles of distress were launched that still haunt us. If it were not for her support, or my escaping through these so-called irrelevant words, I sure would have been an epitaph.
Today, I was reminded yet again on how indiscriminate emotional and verbal abuse is, the choosing method and the manifestation is. And the worst part is, more often than not, it ensues because of someone who you are close to, familiar with or related to. The persons on the other side of the phone that fateful day were my mom’s cousin and their spouse. When I mentioned this incident to several of my relatives including the kids of those ‘sagacious’ individuals, that episode was termed as chiding between cousins. In their generous interpretation, it was alright for it to happen. One of them pointed out that I was drama not because that exchange happened between my mom and her cousins but because it was about me!
Many times, I started writing a heart-to-heart message to mom’s cousins and their brood with all my emotion in it to tell them how much it provoked us – but never succeeded and I am now assured that they would never realize what they’ve done to us. No matter how resilient I imagine to be, I still wonder why I was that chosen one. My mom does not have the amenity of breaking down because no matter how old she gets, no matter how fragile her knees get, she will not show her emotion because she knows it was bigoted. Imagine, if it were physical assault, just for the sheer virtue of indication, there would be pity and care. But since this was an alteration of the thoughts, emotion and humanity, there is this instinctive revulsion that the sufferers are being histrionic.
Without going into much details of what was said, it was obscure knowing that I was called a liar, brazen and a low-life. Those who say we over-react might want to step back for a bit and think about how it would feel if this was said to one of their own. Well, the mutual gush I heard is that no one besides me would be called that way because they are the litters of purity and holiness whereas I must’ve done something terribly wrong – otherwise why would anyone say such appalling things. True – there is no rebuttal to that.
About 8 years prior to this happening, I had the honor of hosting them in a tiny apartment that I shared with 2 other roommates. They had come with another couple to stay with me for 2 nights. It was no big deal except that I was working night shift. Do remember that it is not just doctors but also some less important IT professionals whose career had just kicked off, did work those graveyard shifts. And as misfortune had it, my coworker who was to work that following morning called in sick. So, I continued to work through and informed them I couldn’t serve them personally and that they are in good hands. The backlash that came after was petrifying. Accusations of mistrust and that I was cheating my parents were harbored until the day when the rancor came all vomiting out towards a 72-year-old – my mom. The redeemable charm was that I had informed my parents about this event soon after. The apartment super had kicked us out a week later for accepting overbearing visitors – one of them had locked out the only bathroom in that apartment during odd hours and had talked to the maintenance guy thoughtlessly about their service.
You might wonder why I keep repeating this 5 years later each time with a new lesson, perhaps hundreds of times in between and shall continue to do so till my last breath. I repeat because it is not acceptable to erratically select someone to be at the receiving end of prejudice. I repeat because chiding is not a ‘thing’ between cousins or relatives. I repeat because a girl-child is not a fruit-fly that you can whack at your impulse. I repeat because I shouldn’t have kept quiet when this happened and silence was not the right reaction to spite. I repeat because it hurts despite being strong even after so many years and a sorry will not fix it (not that it came). I repeat because that incident could’ve led to hopelessness and suicide. I repeat because it is merciless to treat another human like that. I repeat because verbal and emotional abuse is a heinous crime – they might as well have killed us that day.
#quotidianblessing #verbalabuse #emotionalabuse #depression